Jola Naibi

Writer and amateur photog. I seek to inspire and inform with the words I write and share and the photos I take. I have written a book of short stories: Terra Cotta Beauty, and I am working on a lot more. Reading and writing fuel my energy. In reading, I explore this vast and diverse world, in writing, I employ my over-active imagination and address the 'what-if' questions that life often throws at us.


The Passion and Power of the Female Poets from Africa

By on April 25, 2018
April is National Poetry Month in the United States where I live, and a good time to celebrate some of my favorite female poets from Africa who, in breaking down barriers are serving up equal amounts of power and passion through their poetry.




Warsan Shire. 2014’s Young Poet Laureate of London (the city where she grew up), Shire was born in Kenya to Somali parents. Her poetry is provocative and nostalgic, wisely using words to hearken the immigrant experience, as in the enchantingly spirited and evocative poem called Home:

no one leaves home unless

home is the mouth of a shark

you only run for the border

when you see the whole city running as well


you have to understand,

that no one puts their children in a boat

unless the water is safer than the land


Twitter: @warsan_shire

Instagram: wu_shire

Upile Chisala. The Malawian poet who has two anthologies: soft magic and Nectar and whose poems explore the issues of gender and identity. In a recent interview she says: I want my writing to be a place where black girls and black women feel safe and celebrated.

I write you poems because God spoke the universe

into existence,

so don’t ever let me hear you say that words are just



words don’t leave a mark,

make a change,

create where once was nothing.


Twitter : @beingupile

Instagram: beingupile

Ijeoma Umebinyuo. This Nigerian poet’s anthology called Questions for Ada is a soulful and introspective masterpiece trasnscending cultures to explore the passion and pain of women everywhere.

He said,

“you are beautiful”

I told him


is a lazy and lousy way to describe me.


Instagram: theijeoma

Ketty Nivyabandi. A target of political persecution in her native Burundi, her poems (written in French) are deeply profound and exquisitely lyrical.

Je me souviens de toi

Une étincelle qui dechire la nuite bleue

Des semences qui cherche les cieux

Des étoiles témoins des hommes

Un chant serré au chaud dans les dos rêveurs

Des femmes sentant le beurre


Twitter: @kettynivyabandi

Instagram: kettynivyabandi